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Mallesons: forward comrades, to better lawyering with Communist characteristics!

March 8th, 2012 4 comments

Are you a proud member of King & Wood Mallesons[n2] looking to better integrate yourself into the firm’s new combined culture? Do you want to work on the highest profile M&A deals while maintaining your faith in Communism? Then look no further. The King & Wood Communist Party Sub Branch[n1] is your ticket to uplifting training sessions on Communist ideology, stimulating discussion of the Working Report of the Communist Party National Conference, and pilgrimage tours to the birthplaces of the Communist Revolution.

Here is some information I translated from the profile for the King & Wood Communist Party Sub-Branch on a Chinese government website (original link at the end):

“The King & Wood Communist Party Branch was established on 2 April 1997. Currently membership of the Party Branch numbers 169, the Branch secretary and Branch committee are composed of senior lawyers and excellent Communist Party members.

“Since establishment, the King & Wood Communist Party Branch has strictly followed the overall requirement of “One Centre, Five Developments and Three Guarantees”, combined with the special characteristics of grassroots Party development in the legal profession, have steadfastly placed the ideological development of the Party at the forefront, have organised Party members to carefully study the “Report of the 17th Party Congress”, have undertaken education on the vanguard qualities of Communist Party members, and have perfected Party branch organisational development. In September 2007 Branch committee members were sent to the [Communist Party guerrilla base] Jinggang Mountain to attend the Party Cadre School, to participate in the “Core Cadre Study Session On the Spirit of the 17th Party Congress”. In October, they have participated in the training class for branch secretaries organised by the Personnel Department, which has strengthened all Party Member’s upholding of Communist ideals, and solidified the faith in Communism of the King & Wood Party Branch members.”

The rest of the article emphasises how King & Wood’s Communist lawyers participated in their highest profile deals.

From: http://chylawyer.bjchy.gov.cn/sub/viewDetail.jsp?newsid=70082&subjectid=3574 (in Chinese). I have copied the full text below incase the website changes.

n1: Update:  According to this more recent article by current King & Wood Mallesons global chairman Junfeng Wang (also in Chinese, also copied below in full), the party branch is now a Main Branch, with 16 Sub Branches, 7 Party Committees, and more than 400 party members. Among other recent achievements, the Communist party branch magazine “Fly, fly the Red Flag” is now the “spiritual home that guides” King & Wood Mallesons employees. The “Firm-Party Joint Committee” has been formed to ensure that the Communist Party organisation participates in all key decisions of the firm, and to clarify that all major decisions must first be subjected to the comments and suggestions of the Communist Party organisation. The article further mentions that the firm has adopted a policy to recommend Communist Party members in priority to act on major deals of national importance. If anything, this is an even more disturbing article.

n2: For readers less in tune with events in the Australian legal market, Mallesons Stephen Jaques, one of Australia’s largest law firms (if not the largest), has merged with Chinese law firm King & Wood, to create the new “King & Wood Mallesons”. There is no, nor has there ever been any, “Mr King” or “Mr Wood” – they were simply easy to pronounce English names picked by the Chinese firm when it formed in the 80s. I’m sure Mr Malleson would have been very proud to know that he now ranks third after two fictitious names.

Read more…

University of Sydney Hong Kong Law Fair 2012

March 8th, 2012 No comments

The Hong Kong Law Fair at the University of Sydney is on again for 2012! A must-see event for any law student aspiring to an international career: http://www.usydclss.com/cms/2012/03/hong-kong-law-fair-2012/, and here’s the Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/events/380794518605870/

 

Update: added link to event page on CLSS website

Hong Kong Law Careers Guide

April 14th, 2010 No comments

The Chinese Law Students Society at the University of Sydney, in conjunction with UNSW Law Society and the ACYA have published the 2010 Hong Kong Law Careers Guide. Must read for aspiring lawyers who want to work in the region and not just in Australia. I especially recommend the candid accounts of work hours at different levels and handy (human) hints about life as a Hong Kong lawyer — stuff you won’t get from firm brochures.

Hong Kong Law Fair @ Sydney

April 7th, 2010 1 comment

Hong Kong Law Fair
The Hong Kong Law Fair is returning to the University of Sydney this year, attended by international law firms and Hong Kong universities. A must-see event for anyone interested in working in law in the Asia Pacific region.

For more information, see here and register online now.

Supreme Court of the United Kingdom website opens

September 6th, 2009 2 comments

On 1 October 2009, a Supreme Court of the United Kingdom will replace the House of Lords as the court of final instance in most matters in the United Kingdom. This is a significant moment for the UK’s legal system. Constitutionally, it will mark the formal separation of the judicial arm of government from the executive and legislative (though functionally the separation has been in place for more than a century). The Law Lords will transfer to the new Supreme Court and become the justices of the Supreme Court. The first fresh appointment to the new court will be a replacement for Lord Neuberger, who is stepping down to become Master of the Rolls (to replace Lord Clarke, who is leaving the MR post to replace Lord Scott, who is retiring). New appointees will no longer be created life peers by reason only of their appointment to the Supreme Court – for lawyers around the Commonwealth, this marks the end of an era as they will stop talking about their Lordships in reference to new cases. The Supreme Court will be housed in the Middlesex Guildhall, which sits on Parliament Square, across from the Palace of Westminster and close to Westminster Abbey.

The Supreme Court’s website has been launched: http://www.supremecourt.gov.uk/index.html

Update: Read up on the workings of the UKSC at this (non-affiliated) blog: http://www.ukscblog.com/

Categories: Events, Law, Random facts Tags:

Clerkship season – my thoughts

August 9th, 2009 6 comments

The long climb up? - Sydney Law SchoolEnoch has kindly credited me in his excellent article about the clerkships process – I must admit that my contribution to that article consisted of about 5 words and one set of parentheses.

(For those not familiar with the context, the vacation clerkship program, run every summer, is the primary route of recruitment for mid-to-large-sized law firms in Sydney.)

These are excellent tips, though, and it’s recommended reading for all the keen baby lawyers out there. I thought, however, that I’ll also share a few of my thoughts on the clerkships process.

#1: Take it seriously, but not too seriously. Some would see the clerkships process as a single, crowded drawbridge across the chasm between struggling law student and high-flying corporate lawyer. Others don’t seem fussed about it at all. It’s important to have a realistic sense of how important the process is.

The clerkship process is important. For those whose parents are not judges or an important client of a major law firm, it is the best and – despite the many hurdles set in the path – the easiest path to a job at a commercial law firm. Unfortunately, the profession in Sydney places far too great a significance on a start at a commercial law firm. In some respects, a clerkship becomes a badge rather than what it should be – a chance to find out whether you and commercial law make a good couple. As a result, though there are many paths forward, and many paths to commercial law, if your interests swing that way, the clerkship is significant for a law student because it is the easiest way to earn that badge. If you do not put your best – and smartest – effort into the clerkships process, you may end up spending twice or three times the effort to score a graduate job – efforts subject to all the vicissitudes of the market. So start preparing early (ideally, a year early), talk to everyone, read everything, and carefully think through every decision you make in this process.

At the same time, it’s important to keep in mind that a clerkship is not the be-all and end-all of starting your career. There are many other paths to commercial law: as a graduate, after a further degree, as a qualified lawyer, or as a foreign lawyer. Remember, also, that commercial law is not for everyone. It is neither particularly remunerative in the first few years, nor does it offer work life balance as a matter of course. Does working on internationally significant commercial transactions for large corporations float your boat? If it doesn’t, happiness might be just an application (to the public or community sector) away. So don’t fret if the clerkships process and the competition seem a little daunting – there could well be a better path out there.

#2: A successful clerkship application must be balanced but stand out in some way. What does it take to get a clerkship offer? Some firms are rumoured to look only at marks; others supposedly only hire law society executives. In truth, all firms look for a combination of things. For the majority, being well-balanced is key. Academic results, work experience, extracurricular activities, quality of writing (in the application form and in the cover letter), as well as maintaining a good impression in the interview – all combine to make a successful application. To ensure an offer, however, an applicant should be stand-out in at least one area – some quality or experience that helps you to make it past the “maybe” pile into the “yes” pile. For those who are organised, it may be worthwhile cultivating that stand-out quality in the months or year before the clerkship process.

#3: Focus on a few firms, and try as many paths as possible. The clerkship application process is stressful, intense, and time-consuming; a quality application takes a lot of effort and time to perfect. It is prudent to apply for a good number of firms, but anything more than half a dozen will probably be a serious strain on your life. Anything more than a dozen is not for the faint-hearted. Applying for too many firms not only means more applications to draft, check, and customise – it also means that you may find it difficult to remember all the facts about each firm when you front up for the interview. A cover letter carrying the wrong firm’s name is almost certainly the biggest no-no. While not as dramatic, a bland, generic application does not impress the reader, either.

The second part of this item is that it’s a good idea to try as many things as possible. As Enoch mentioned, while a giant law firm might seem the perfect, glamorous workplace, it is not ideal for everyone – indeed, it is not ideal for most people. On the other hand, while a small firm might advertise its great atmosphere and work-life balance, you may find its work a little, well, less than exciting. The clerkship process is a chance to check out the options on offer, and you never know what you might find.

#4 Talk to as many people as possible. Before and during the clerkship process, talking to those who have gone before is a good way of avoiding pitfalls that others have encountered. During the clerkship process, talking to others can shed light on the realities of life and work with your potential employer. All the marketing talk thrown at you during the process are also best read when filtered through a competitor’s interpretation. Firm-organised cocktail parties and other events are a good chance to meet and talk to the lawyers in the flesh – they are primarily for the applicant’s benefit, and only secondarily for the firm to spot outstanding candidates. While it may seem an elusive prospect while you are stressed by the interview process, this information will come in handy when you do need to choose between competing offers. Talking to many people also has benefits beyond the process – whether or not you choose the particular firm in the end, the relationships you forge through the interview process can build or extend your network in the profession.

Finally – this is not strictly speaking a tip – keep track of which firm is offering the best food during the process. It’s something fun to focus on when your mind needs a break from the stress of the process!

______

Tommy completed vacation clerkships at two law firms in London and an Australian law firm in Melbourne, and completed his practical legal training at a community legal centre and a corporate general counsel’s office in Sydney. No, he doesn’t talk about himself in the third person as a matter of habit.

IceTV Pty Limited v Nine Network Australia Pty Limited [2009]

May 4th, 2009 3 comments

I set out to write a ‘brief’ casenote on my blog on this case a week ago, but almost inevitably it’s morphing into a 5,000 word paper. To spare my readers the pain of waiting a month to read something gargantuan, I’m posting up this condensed note. I’ll upload the full note as a document in due season.

On 22 April 2009, the High Court of Australia delivered its judgment in the case of IceTv Pty Limited v Nine Network Australia Pty Limited [2009] HCA 14 (hereafter “IceTV“. The appeal by IceTV Pty Limited (“IceTV“) was upheld unanimously by a court comprising French CJ, Gummow, Hayne, Heydon, Crennan and Kiefel JJ. The court found that IceTV’s use of program title and time information originating from Nine Network Australia Pty Limited (“Nine“) did not infringe Nine’s copyright in its published programming schedules.

Significance of the case

The IceTV case has been a running saga in Australian copyright law for several years. The case is significant for several reasons. First, it is an important indication of the present High Court’s views on several open issues of copyright law which have been in flux in recent years. The bench which sat on IceTV encompass all but one (Bell J) of the present court, which has changed significantly in the last couple of years. Specifically, the case was a decisive statement of the court’s view on copyright’s protection of labour and time, versus the need for a “creative spark”, in compilations, an issue with increasing ramifications in the digital age. While the case considered this issue in the context of copyright infringement, and specifically the question of what constitutes a “substantial part” of a work, their Honours provided a strong indication of their views of the parallel issue in the context of subsistence of copyright.

Read more…

March 5th, 2009 No comments

Clerkships – Training contracts – Vacation schemes – Jobs

The Hong Kong Law Fair will be coming to the University of Sydney this year, and it’s being coordinated by the Chinese Law Students Society. Register now to attend!

(Free plug =D i’m serving on the Old Men Committee for the fair.)

Look, look, a pun!

December 21st, 2008 1 comment

I passed by the Guardianship Tribunal of NSW in Balmain recently, and noticed an Indian restuarant on its ground floor – it had a massive sign saying “AIR”. Air? That’s a strange name for an Indian restaurant, I thought. Then I noticed the small writing: “All India Restaurant“, and I realised that it was a pun. Geddit? I’m guessing no.

Here’s how it works: “All India Restaurant” → A.I.R. → “All India Reports”, the most commonly used law reports series for Indian cases → law → Guardianship Tribunal. Geddit?

I like it because it’s so obscure 🙂

Old new faces

November 22nd, 2008 2 comments

Hillary Clinton accepts Obama’s offer of the Secretaryship (word?) of State. Reading through the list of appointees, I saw a lot of familiar names. If, like me, you are an interested amateur when it comes to US politics, the following might help.

Name: Hillary Clinton
Appointed: Secretary of State
You may remember her from: Married to former President Bill Clinton, first lady 1993-2001. Wellesley College, Yale Law School, parnter of Rose Law Firm. Senator for New York state since 2000.
Quote: “We are the president” – according to James B Stewart

Name: David Axelrod
Appointed: Senior Adviser
You may remember him from: Nothing, but he has an Autobot surname (a more introspective variation of Hotrod?) and a moustache that makes him look like he’s still living in 1984.

Name: Gregory Craig
Appointed: White House Counsel
You may remember him from: special counsel to Bill Clinton, defending him against impeachment. A reversible name. Yale law schoolmate of Hillary and Bill.

Name: Ron Klain
Appointed: Chief of Staff to the Vice-President
You may remember him from: Chief of Staff to the Vice-President (Al Gore). Supreme Court tipstaff.

Name: Tom Daschle
Appointed: Secretary of Health
You may remember him from: “Senator Tom Daschle (D)”, from his days as Senate Majority Leader. Wikipedia says of Daschle: “Daschle became a brother of Alpha Phi Omega”. The article does not explain how Daschele’s brother acquired such a quirky name, and whether the surname Omega indicates that said brother was adopted from Greece.

To be continued.